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Spotlight/News Analysis (16th August 2016): Human Rights Violations in Balochistan and Pak Occupied Kashmir



Spotlight/News Analysis (16th August 2016): Human Rights Violations in Balochistan and Pak Occupied Kashmir



Honorable Prime Minister Of India Mr. Narendra Modi while addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on 15th August 2016 made an interesting reference to Balochistan which is now being looked upon as a significant game changer in India’s stand towards Pakistan. The Prime Minister was quite effectively able to bring out Pakistan’s vulnerability on the forefront in quite a diplomatic manner.

The Prime Minister made it clear that the Indians look at the deaths in Pakistan with anguish be it school children of Peshawar or killing of innocent people in Balochistan. The overall aim of India remains the same that is maintaining good neighbourhood relations. However, this Indian strategy could help in drawing global attention towards one of the oldest problems in Pakistan.

Historical Background of Balochistan:

Balochistan is Pakistan’s one of the largest and least developed provinces resided mostly by Balochis. At the time of independence, there were 565 princely states which signed Instrument of Accession and merged with either of the nations.

In case of Balochistan, the rulers of Khanate of Kalat, which was a princely state under the British (presently a part of Balochistan) refused to join any of the new nations. In 1948, Pakistan sent troops to annex the territory though a Treaty of Accession was signed later between Yar Khan (the then ruler of Kalat) and Mohammad Ali Jinnah while Yar Khan’s brothers kept the fight on against Pakistan. Since then, there have been around five waves of insurgencies (1948, 1958, 1962-63, 1973-77 and 1999). There have been violent campaigns from Baloch nationalists for independence from Pakistan.

Present Scenario:

There has been brutal use of armed forces and weapons on innocent people. There has been use of even Air Force to control unrest in the region. These atrocities committed by Pakistan have invited international condemnation as well. It is the people there who have to face the brunt of paramilitary forces as well as militants. Extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances are quite common leading to severe violation of Human Rights in this part of the world. It has misused the American weapons against its own people. This is a resource-rich province, and instead of the people benefiting from those resources, end up migrating in other parts of Pakistan.

Strategic Importance:

  1. Because of geopolitical and economic conditions at present, these provinces hold a lot of importance for Pakistan. This is one of the important locations where deep water port of Gwadar has to be linked with Kashgar (a trading hub in Xinjiang, China).
  2. Iran Pakistan gas pipeline crosses Balochistan. Therefore, Pakistan has to handle this problem with tact and diplomacy.
  3. Afghanistan has tensions with Pakistan as well where the Pashtoons don’t accept the Durand Line.

Prime Minister has with his loud and clear words has given a firm reminder to Pakistan that it is not going to sit back quietly if provoked. If they play gaes with India, they have to be made aware about their own vulnerability. What Mr. Narendra Modi has said was long overdue.